Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 71–78 | Cite as

Cellular phone use and brain tumor: a meta-analysis

  • Peter Kan
  • Sara E. Simonsen
  • Joseph L. Lyon
  • John R. W. KestleEmail author
Clinical Study - Patient Studies



The dramatic increase in the use of cellular phones has generated concerns about potential adverse effects, especially the development of brain tumors. We conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effect of cellular phone use on the risk of brain tumor development.


We searched the literature using MEDLINE to locate case-control studies on cellular phone use and brain tumors. Odds ratios (ORs) for overall effect and stratified ORs associated with specific brain tumors, long-term use, and analog/digital phones were calculated for each study using its original data. A pooled estimator of each OR was then calculated using a random-effects model.


Nine case-control studies containing 5,259 cases of primary brain tumors and 12,074 controls were included. All studies reported ORs according to brain tumor subtypes, and five provided ORs on patients with ≥10 years of follow up. Pooled analysis showed an overall OR of 0.90 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.81–0.99) for cellular phone use and brain tumor development. The pooled OR for long-term users of ≥10 years (5 studies) was 1.25 (95% CI 1.01–1.54). No increased risk was observed in analog or digital cellular phone users.


We found no overall increased risk of brain tumors among cellular phone users. The potential elevated risk of brain tumors after long-term cellular phone use awaits confirmation by future studies.


Brain tumors Cellular phones Radiation 



The authors thank Kristin Kraus, M.Sc., for her editorial assistance in preparing this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Kan
    • 1
  • Sara E. Simonsen
    • 2
  • Joseph L. Lyon
    • 2
  • John R. W. Kestle
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Preventive MedicineUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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